J.A. Happ once again pitch seven strong innings, as he and the bullpen shut down the fish once again as the Phils defeat the Marlins, 5-0. The win increase the Phils lead to seven games in the NL East, while they increase their winning streak to a season high eight games.
The game would start with a very wild first inning. Jimmy Rollins lead off the game with a triple. But, with Shane Victorino batting, and with the infield back, except at third base, Rollins made a mistake by running towards home on Victorino’s grounder, as the ball went to the Marlins’ third baseman Emilio Bonifacio, who then threw home, where Rollins is tagged out by the catcher for the first out of the inning, 5-2, while Victorino would be safe at first on the fielder’s choice. Victorino would then go to second on Braves’ starter Andrew Miller’s throwing error on a pick-off attempt. After Chase Utley flied out to center for the inning’s second out, first Raul Ibanez and then Jayson Werth walked, loading the bases, with two men out. But Pedro Feliz would end the inning by hitting into a force out, 6-5, rubbing out Werth at second base. The Marlins, after dodging the bullet, tried to take the lead in their half of the first. Bonifacio lead off the inning with a double. Jeremy Hermida was then hit by the pitch, putting two men on, with nobody out. Hanley Ramirez then flied out to center for the inning’s first out, as Bonifacio tagged up and moved to third base, putting runners on the corners. Jorge Cantu then flied out to short right field for the second out of the inning, with Bonifacio deciding not to test Werth’s arm. The next batter, Dan Uggla, then ended the inning by grounding out, 6-3, for the final out, leaving it a 0-0 game. The Phils then took the lead in the second, as, with the bases loaded via an infield single to Phils’ starter J.A. Happ, a single to Rollins and an infield single to Victorino, and two men out, Utley is hit by the pitch, forcing in Happ, and giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, as both Rollins and Victorino moved up a base. The next batter, Ibanez, followed with a two-run double, knocking in both Rollins and Victorino, making it a 3-0 Phils lead, while sending Utley to third. The Phils would increase their lead in the third as, with a runner on second, and two men out, Rollins hits an RBI double, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on Happ’s sacrifice bunt, making it a 4-0 Phillies’ lead. Happ would then keep the Marlins at bay, before running into trouble in the sixth, as the Marlins loaded up the bases on singles by Cantu and Uggla, and a fielding error by Feliz on a Cody Ross ground ball, with nobody out. But Happ soon got himself out of the inning. First, he got Phillies’ killer Ronny Paulino to pop out to shortstop, 6-unassisted, under the Infield Fly Rule for the first out of the inning. He then struck out Brett Carroll swinging for the second out, and then got pinch hitter Wes Helms to strike out looking to end the threat, keeping it a 4-0 Phils’ lead. The Phils would then add to their lead in the ninth as, with the bases loaded again, via an Utley single, a walk to Ibanez and a walk to Feliz, which would move pinch runner John Mayberry, Junior, up to second base, while Utley went to third, and two men out, Utley would score on a wild pitch that would hit Paulino’s shin guard and go up the third base line, making it a 5-0 Phils’ lead. That would be the final score as Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge would combine for a scoreless ninth inning.
J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched seven shut out innings, giving up five hits and a walk, while striking out four. His record is now 7-0 with an ERA of 2.68. Ryan Madson pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits, while striking out one. J.C. Romero pitched a third of an inning, collecting his sixth hold as he got out the only man he would face. Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge would combine for one scoreless inning, giving up only one hit (Eyre). Andrew Miller took the lost as he pitched just two and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks. His record is now 3-5 with a 4.81 ERA. Brian Sanches, Burke Badenhop, Luis Ayala and Renyel Pinto would combine for five and a third scoreless innings of relief, giving up only one hit (Sanches) and two walks (Badenhop, Pinto), while striking out seven (Sanches (3), Badenhop (3), Ayala (1)). Dan Meyer pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Brendan Donnelly pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two walks and a wild pitch.
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins leading the way with three hits, a single, a double and a triple, just one hit shy of hitting the cycle, while knocking in a run as he raised his batting average up to .236. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth and J.A. Happ had the other five hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a two-run double. Besides Ibanez’s two RBIs and Rollins’ one RBI, Utley knocked in the Phils’ other RBI. The offense seems to be doing everything right now, while starting pitching, outside of the team’s ace Cole Hamels, seems to be now throwing quality starts, thus giving the bullpen some much needed rest, as the trading deadline draws near.
The Phillies (51-38, 1st National League East) start a three-games home stand with the Cubs (47-43, 2nd National League Central). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin tonight at 7:05 pm. The Phils’ starter will be Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 3.18), who is coming off a no-decision against the Reds on July 8, as he left the game because of injuries, as he gave up two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out four, in five innings of work, in the Phils’ 3-2 win. He will be going for his second win of the season since returning to the majors. The Cubbies will counter with Ted Lilly (9-6, 3.18), who is coming off a win against the Cardinals on July 11, when he went eight strong innings, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Cubs’ 5-2 win. He will be trying for his tenth win of the season. The Phils will be trying to show that they can continue their present winning ways at home, while improving their record against Central Division teams.